Bone and Joint Health
The ancient practice of yoga in its many incarnations is more popular than ever before. But, based on my informal assessment, it appears that there is a widespread perception that yoga is primarily useful for issues pertaining to mental health. And, while it’s true that yoga often promotes a more positive psychological outlook and clearer cognitive functioning, there’s much more to it. Lately, a series of well designed, clinical studies have illustrated the emerging role of yoga in addressing physical ailments and complaints as well.
Tags: Arthritis, Fatigue, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
In previous columns I’ve reported on the myriad of health benefits associated with turmeric extracts. Turmeric is probably best known as a component of curry, the traditional spice mix. However, among scientists, turmeric has been at the center of a love-hate relationship. In animal and in vitro studies, curcuminoids, antioxidant chemicals found in turmeric, have yielded very encouraging results in conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to dementia. Conversely, human trials have been far less consistent. Poor bioavailability is suspected as the primary culprit for the mixed findings in the human studies.
Tags: Cancer, Curcumin, Eyes
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments
Most health conscious consumers know that soft drinks such Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola aren’t exactly healthy. Even the diet, sugar-free versions of these beverages are loaded with questionable ingredients. Nonetheless, if sales are any indication, a significant percentage of the population isn’t terribly concerned about the implications of drinking cola on a regular basis. This is, in part, due to the caffeine content. Taste is also a factor. However, not everyone knows that there are delicious, natural alternatives to conventional colas that provide a similar “kick” without the artificial ingredients.
Tags: Calcium, Osteoporosis, Sugar
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments
In a recent conversation, I was asked about the safety of Vitamin K supplements in relation to cardiovascular health. The gentleman I was speaking with brought up the possibility of excessive blood clotting or coagulation. The basis for his concern is that some “blood thinning” medications, such as coumadin (Warfarin), work by antagonizing Vitamin K. What’s more, physicians often recommend limiting Vitamin K consumption via food and supplementation in patients using Vitamin K antagonists. But, what about the majority of the population that isn’t using coumadin or related drugs?
Tags: Osteoporosis, Vitamin K, Women's Health
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 1 Comment
I was recently contacted by a young lady whose mother has osteoporosis. I was told that she’s unable to have dairy and many calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice and soy products. In addition, she has a difficult time swallowing pills. On the other hand, she very much enjoys mineral water. Her question to me was, “Can I drink mineral water instead of taking a calcium supplement?”.
Tags: Calcium, Osteoporosis, Water
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 4 Comments
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30% of adults over the age 65 experience a fall each year. Not only are falls the leading cause of injury related deaths in seniors, but they’re also the most prevalent cause of hospital admissions due to physical trauma. Thankfully, there’s quite a lot that can be done to prevent falls. And, as with most health care and safety issues, a combination of conventional and holistic strategies is likely to yield the best results.
Tags: Calcium, Tai Chi, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | No Comments;
For many scientists, it’s hard to imagine that something as inexpensive, pleasing and simple to use as lavender oil can have a profound influence on emotional states, sleep quality and well being. On the other hand, consumers from around the world have made lavender oil a top selling aromatherapeutic aid. Anecdotal accounts of success and recommendations from family and friends are the primary reasons why lavender remains a strong seller among those in need of a calmer state of mind and relief from insomnia. In recent months, several studies have been published which help bridge the gap between lavender-believers and lavender-skeptics.
Tags: Anxiety, Aromatherapy, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
One of the most popular columns I’ve written thus far focused on the promise of krill oil for conditions as diverse as arthritis to premenopausal syndrome. I based the content of that particular piece on several studies from the last decade that found decidedly positive results alongside an enviable safety profile. In essence, I concluded that krill oil may very well be superior to fish oil and other sources of omega 3 fatty acids. If this is indeed the case, it’s likely because of krill oils unique composition – which features astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, and phosholipids which assist with the absorption and retention of omega 3 fatty acids and may impart health benefits of their own. However, I also cautioned that the data on krill oil was preliminary and nowhere near as extensive as that of fish oil.
Tags: Arthritis, Fish Oil, Krill Oil
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 19 Comments
Recently, a client of mine experienced a very positive response to a natural regimen I recommended for improving skeletal health. Today’s column highlights the basic principles my client used to turn the tide from losing bone to gaining it. I can’t promise that others will find the same results. However, I hope that this real life example will encourage everyone concerned about osteoporosis to examine how they’re approaching it from a dietary, lifestyle and supplemental standpoint.
Tags: Calcium, Magnesium, Osteoporosis
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments
The notion of sprinkling algae into a protein shake or spreading it on toast probably seems foreign or just plain bizarre to most people. But, fortunately, many fresh and sea water dwellers have no problem using algae as an essential food source. And, in a roundabout way, humans end up deriving some of the benefits of algae by consuming the fish that feast on it.
Tags: Astaxanthin, Chlorella, Spirulina
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 1 Comment
Health care consumers have greater access to information about drug safety than ever before. A recent edition of the Wall Street Journal illustrates this reality in a piece entitled, “Searching for Side Effects”. A few highlights from the article reveal that medications used to treat diseases including arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis are associated with hundreds of thousands of adverse reactions. Point taken. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can be hazardous to your health. But, what in the world are you supposed to do if you present symptoms that seem to require a pharmacological intervention? I suggest seeking out evidence-based alternatives and/or complementary therapies as the first step.
Tags: Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Smoking
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Diabetes | 2 Comments
A recent publication in the American Journal of Cardiology called into question the safety of high dose Vitamin D supplementation. In the paper, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated a proposed link between Vitamin D levels and an inflammatory protein (CRP) which is considered a risk factor for heart disease. Their conclusions report that levels of D below 21 ng/ml are associated with higher CRP or C-reactive protein. This determination came as no surprise. However, participants with Vitamin D concentrations significantly above 21 ng/ml also demonstrated elevated or undesirable CRP readings. The lead author of the piece, Dr. Muhammad Amer, stated that “Clearly vitamin D is important for your heart health, especially if you have low blood levels of vitamin D. It reduces cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, and may reduce mortality, but it appears that at some point it can be too much of a good thing.”
Tags: Diabetes, Inflammation, Vitamin D
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments
The majority of my clients use nutritional supplements. Some only take a capsule or two a day. Others literally swallow a handful of carefully selected supplements. Each person has a unique set of needs and requirements that is considered in my evidence-based recommendations. However, there is one suggestion that I make across the board. I strongly recommend that everyone make a list of the supplements they use, with a little note next to the name that describes why each capsule, soft gel and tablet is being taken. This list should be reviewed occasionally as a reminder of why you’re making the effort and spending your hard earned money on this regimen. I personally do this when preparing my family’s supplements for the week.
Tags: Hair, Nails, Osteoporosis
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;
Exercising is considered an effective means of preserving bone mineral density as part of a comprehensive bone health regimen. In recent years, some medical experts have begun to recommend a more passive strategy to accomplish this same objective. Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a practice in which you lie down, sit or stand on a vibrating platform that sends waves of energy throughout your body. In some instances, specific forms of exercise including squats are integrated into the vibrating experience. In either case, this active or passive activity causes muscles to contract in a manner that is similar to a physical workout. Proponents of whole-body vibration often claim that the physiological response to WBV provides as good or greater health benefits than more traditional forms of physical exertion in less time.
Tags: Osteoporosis, Women's Health
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | 7 Comments
The next time you put together your grocery list, remind yourself that the foods you include and omit can have a profound affect on your well being. Here are several, recent examples of how you can use food to improve you and your family’s health. If you’re obese and on a hypocaloric diet, make sure to consume optimal levels of dietary calcium (1,600 mg/day) and protein (30% of calories/day). A study appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that higher protein diets rich in dairy products may reduce the risk of dieting-induced bone loss in overweight women. The importance of dietary protein was further bolstered in the October 12th edition of the journal PLoS One. In that research, lowering protein intake by as little as 5% was found to increase overall caloric intake by 12% due to increased appetite.
Tags: Cholesterol, Metabolic Syndrome, Wine
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 2 Comments
Throughout history there have been many wise and witty sayings about growing older. Here are a few of my favorites: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain; “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Benjamin Franklin; “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.” William James. Some of the changes that occur with advancing age cannot be avoided entirely. But I believe there’s such a thing as “quality of aging” as well as “quality of life”. What’s more, we can all affect the manner and pace by which our bodies reflect our biological years. Read more »
Tags: Arthritis, Heart Health, Tai Chi, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Memory | No Comments;